Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom. Contributors:Elyssa Tardiff, Allen Brizee. Summary: This resource describes why outlines are useful, what types of outlines exist, suggestions for developing effective outlines, and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing.

Four Main Components for Effective Outlines
Ideally, you should follow these four suggestions to create an effective outline. The examples are taken from the Sample Outline handout.

Parallelism - How do I accomplish this?
Each heading and subheading should preserve parallel structure. If the first heading is a verb, the second heading should be a verb. Example: 1. Choose Desired Colleges 2. Prepare Application ("Choose" and "Prepare" are both verbs. The present tense of the verb is usually the preferred form for an outline)

Coordination - How do I accomplish this?
All the information contained in Heading 1 should have the same significance as the information contained in Heading 2. The same goes for the subheadings (which should be less significant than the headings). Example: 1. Visit and evaluate college campuses 2. Visit and evaluate college websites 1. Note important statistics 2. Look for interesting classes

List work experience 3. Finding statistics and classes found on college websites are parts of the process involved in carrying out the main heading topics. there is no limit to the number of subdivisions for your headings. suggestions for developing effective outlines.) Subordination .How do I accomplish this? The information in the headings should be more general. but in general. an outline may help organize the various plot threads and help keep track of character traits.) Division . . Favorite high school teacher 2. Compile resume 1.) Technically.How do I accomplish this? Each heading should be divided into 2 or more parts.(Campus and websites visits are equally significant. while the information in the subheadings should be more specific. For creative writing. an outline may help you keep track of large amounts of information. Grandparent (A favorite teacher and grandparent are specific examples from the generalized category of influential people in your life. Below are the primary reasons for creating an outline. Many people find that organizing an oral report or presentation in outline form helps them speak more effectively in front of a crowd. however. Allen Brizee. List relevant coursework 2. what types of outlines exist. Example: 1. Summary: This resource describes why outlines are useful. Example: 1. Contributors:Elyssa Tardiff. it may be helpful to create an outline when you want to show the hierarchical relationship or logical ordering of information. Why and How to Create a Useful Outline Why create an outline? There are many reasons. it may be useful to see if some of the parts can be combined. and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing. They are part of the main tasks you would need to do. Describe an influential person in your life 1. List volunteer experience (The heading "Compile resume" is divided into 3 parts. For research papers. if you seem to have a lot.

suggestions for developing effective outlines. Then: • • • • Brainstorm: List all the ideas that you want to include in your paper.• • • • • • Aids in the process of writing Helps you organize your ideas Presents your material in a logical form Shows the relationships among ideas in your writing Constructs an ordered overview of your writing Defines boundaries and groups How do I create an outline? • • • Determine the purpose of your paper. Develop the thesis of your paper. Determine the audience you are writing for. Whether you follow the suggested guidelines is up to you. but making any kind of outline (even just some jotting down some main ideas) will be beneficial to your writing process. The formatting follows these characters. Summary: This resource describes why outlines are useful. what types of outlines exist. Remember: creating an outline before writing your paper will make organizing your thoughts a lot easier. Types of Outlines and Samples Alphanumeric Outlines This is the most common type of outline and usually instantly recognizable to most people. Allen Brizee. and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing. Label: Create main and sub headings. Organize: Group related ideas together. Contributors:Elyssa Tardiff. in this order: • • • • Roman Numerals Capitalized Letters Arabic Numerals Lowercase Letters . Order: Arrange material in subsections from general to specific or from abstract to concrete.

The main difference (as the title suggests) is that full sentences are required at each level of the outline. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline. broadcast. Full Sentence Outlines The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline. Copyright ©1995-2010 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. Decimal Outlines The decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline. she creates the outline as a framework for her essay. reproduced. The added benefit is a system of decimal notation that clearly shows how every level of the outline relates to the larger whole. a student follows a certain process which includes choosing the right schools and preparing the application materials. This outline is most often used when preparing a traditional essay. use Arabic numerals inside parentheses and then lowercase letters inside parentheses. In order to organize her thoughts and make sure that she has not forgotten any key points that she wants to address. or redistributed without permission. The sample PDF in the Media Box above is an example of an outline that a student might create before writing an essay. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline. rewritten. Please report any technical problems you encounter. This material may not be published.If the outline needs to subdivide beyond these divisions. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline. All rights reserved. What is the purpose of this essay? To explain the process for applying to college Who is the intended audience for this essay? High school students intending to apply to college and their parents What is the essay's thesis statement? When applying to college. What is the assignment? Your instructor asks the class to write an expository (explanatory) essay on the typical steps a high school student would follow in order to apply to college. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful